Peyton Manning reportedly filed an application to become a minority owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. There's no doubt that such a move by the former University of Tennessee signal-caller would generate plenty of interest in the franchise.
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 4 at 5:45 p.m. ET by Matt Fitzgerald
According to NFL Network reporter Michelle Beisner, it is actually Manning's wife who is spearheading the family's bid to buy a stake in the Memphis Grizzlies, not Peyton himself.
Per Broncos team source, Peyton Manning's name is NOT on Ashley Manning's app as she pursues minority ownership of the Memphis Grizzlies.— Michelle Beisner (@MichelleBeisner) October 4, 2012
It looks like the Broncos signal-caller is characteristically too caught up in hours of game tape and preparation to personally commit to partially owning an NBA team. Perhaps the situation will change in the offseason.
---End of Update---
Even though Peyton Manning usually spends his days preparing to dissect NFL defenses, he took a little break from the gridiron to become a minority owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, according to a report from radio host Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis.
SCOOP:Peyton Manning has agreed in principle to become part-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies.— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) October 4, 2012
Darren Rovell of ESPN spoke to a source close to incoming owner Robert Pera, who confirmed Vernon's report.
A source close to incoming Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has confirmed @chrisvernonshow report that Peyton Manning will be part owner.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) October 4, 2012
Despite being born and raised in New Orleans, Manning does have obvious ties to the Tennessee area, having played football at the University of Tennessee from 1994 to 1997. He led the Volunteers to an SEC championship and an appearance in the Orange Bowl in his senior season, as well as being the Heisman Trophy runner-up that year.
The Grizzlies have had a difficult time trying to find a new owner. There were reports over the summer that Pera, who wanted to buy a stake in the franchise, was having financial issues due to his business and the stock market.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported back in September that Pera was recruiting Justin Timberlake, who is from Memphis, to buy a minority stake in the franchise.
Now, the organization has three recognizable minority owners, as Manning joins Timberlake and Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway in this role (per CBS Sports).
Pera is building a star-studded team of minority owners to help him make this a marquee franchise, as Kyle Veazey of CommercialAppeal.com writes:
Pera, whose purchase of the team from Michael Heisley is being vetted by the NBA, has assembled a group with both star power and local ties, including recent additions such as pop star and actor Justin Timberlake and former congressman Harold Ford Jr.
Getting Manning on board is a major coup for a franchise that really needs a face to market to the public. Not that you should expect Manning to drop what he is doing to shill for the Grizzlies, but at least knowing he is part of the organization would be huge.
The front office has built a very good product on the court for people to go see. The Grizzlies finished 20th in the NBA in home attendance last season, though their 86.7 percent capacity does bump them up to 17th.
Among playoff teams, the Grizzlies had the third-worst attendance, ahead of Atlanta and Indiana. Manning can give them a notable face to help market the franchise to casual sports fans who might be on the fence about attending games.